Fresh Start – where to next?

Two. Two more classes. Two more summer classes separate me from completing my master’s degree in Emerging Media Studies. My program at Boston University began on Sept. 2, 2015 and it has been a whirlwind ever since. To think that I’m already graduating this Friday, May 13th, is both exciting and daunting! Have I learned everything I needed to learn to secure the kind of job placement I’m hoping for? The answer is no.20160508_234115

But the answer should be no. Why, you ask? Because I’m constantly learning new things every day. And that is precisely why I chose to study emerging media. The only constant in the media world is change…which is also daunting, but oh so very exciting.

Having worked for The Walt Disney Company, I have high expectations for my future workplace. I was and am very proud to have worked for the Mouse and it is still tough to think that I may not return to work there again anytime soon. BUT, for now, Boston is my home. I love it here and feel extremely lucky to call this my city. Soon, though, I will be a free agent, which means it’s time to really put myself out there and find my dream job. Or just a job. “Gotta start somewhere,” as they say, right? Well, kind of…

You see, after losing my Mom to pancreatic cancer and moving to MA to start anew, I decided that life is too short for mediocrity. I don’t want to just work anywhere. And, as corny as it sounds, I want to make a mark on this world we live in. I want to make an impact, a significant difference, wherever I do end up going.

I have more passion than I know what to do with. I love to know things and that will never change. I love to write, listen, create, think, brainstorm, fix things, problem-solve, tweet, snapchat, gram my life away and # EVERYTHING (but really, though). Most of all, I love to EXPLORE.

Before my graduate program, I considered myself a journalist. A writer. A social media enthusiast and a storyteller. But now, I know I’ve evolved way beyond that. I’m still far from an expert in big data analysis, manual coding, social strategy, SPSS, R, data science, HTML, CSS, Qualtrics, survey-making, etc., but I got my hands dirty in all of it. I’ve spent the better part of the last eight months doing a lot of things that once intimidated me. As someone who has never felt good with numbers (hey, how many communications majors actually do?), I never saw myself even touching most of this stuff. But I’m so glad I did.

Now, I just have to find my place — somewhere that I can put all of these skills to good use. I’ve worked for one of the largest, most well-known and respected brands in the world. I’ve also worked for small newspapers and magazine startups. I’ve been coordinating my program’s Facebook and Twitter since October and I love to dive into all things social. I may still be too young to have 10 years of experience in anything, but I am a hard worker.

So…the goal = stay in Boston. Find a job. But not just any job — find a new home. A place that I’m excited to go to day in and day out, because I do believe that exists and I won’t stop or give up until I find it.

If you’re reading this and you’re hiring in the Boston area, please connect with me (rforman@bu.edu)! Or even if you just have some advice to offer, leave or comment or let’s chat over coffee! I’m open to all opportunities, I’m excited and I’m ready to go!

 

 

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ABC’s ‘The Middle’ films episode at EPCOT

One of the coolest things about being at Walt Disney World Resort is you never know what or who you’re going to see. With 47-squares miles, there is always something going on.

Today, ABC’s family comedy “The Middle” is filming an episode in Epcot. And even if you weren’t a Guest in the park, you can still check it all out thanks to social media.

Shared by @RamblingKite

Shared by @RamblingKite

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Shared by @kaylaferris

Shared by @lizmclean14

Shared by @lizmclean14

@BazTastic77

Shared by @BazTastic77

Shared by @brihealy

Shared by @brihealy

As a Disney Cast Member, I had the chance to look over the production schedule. And while such information is confidential, I can say that it’s truly amazing that such a huge crew can film a television show without interrupting and interfering with the daily operation.

I’m not exactly sure when this episode will air, but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for it!

NBD: Disney buying Maker Studios for $500 million, could reach $950 million

From Bloomberg:

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) agreed to buy Maker Studios, a supplier of online video content to YouTube, for $500 million, gaining technology and experience with short-form entertainment.

Disney also agreed to pay as much as $450 million more if Maker Studios meets “strong” performance targets, the Burbank, California-based company said today in a statement. That could boost the total to $950 million.

With Maker Studios, Disney is following DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. into an online video business with expanding audiences and little profit. DreamWorks Animation, producer of the “Shrek” movies, bought AwesomenessTV, a smaller competitor of Maker Studios, for $33 million plus as much as $84 million in incentives last year. The online outlets could help media companies build awareness for films and TV shows.

“Short-form online video is growing at an astonishing pace and with Maker Studios, Disney will now be at the center of this dynamic industry with an unmatched combination of advanced technology and programming expertise and capabilities,” Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in the statement.

With more than 55,000 channels, 380 million subscribers and 5.5 billion views a month on Google Inc.’s YouTube, Culver City, California-based Maker has established itself as one of the top online video networks for young audiences, Disney said.

Buying Again

“There is a lot of good happening in digital video networks,” Mike Vorhaus, a technology consultant at Magid Advisors, said in an interview. “There are a ton of eyeballs and the content isn’t expensive to produce. There just hasn’t been a lot of meaningful profit yet.”

The acquisition is one of the biggest for Disney, the world’s largest entertainment company, since the $4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm Ltd. in 2012. In the online space, Maker could potentially exceed the $563.2 million Disney spent in 2010 on mobile game maker Playdom. Disney paid $350 million in 2007 for Club Penguin online world.

Disney rose 0.6 percent to $79.98 in extended trading after the deal was announced. The stock fell 1.1 percent to $79.49 at the close in New York and gained 4 percent this year.

Maker Studios reports to Jay Rasulo, Disney’s chief financial officer, according to the statement. The online company was founded in 2009, according to a regulatory filing.

Disney had $4.4 billion in cash at the end of September, according to regulatory filings.

***

You may not recognize Maker Studios buy its name, but you most likely know the popular YouTubers behind this now very wealthy company. Maker Studios was founded by Ben Donovan, Danny Zappin, Scott Katz, Lisa Donovan, Shay Carl ButlerPhillip DeFrancoKassem Gharaibeh and Derek S. Jones.

Honestly, I didn’t even know about Maker Studios. As someone who has been a member of the YouTube community since 2006, I’m really excited for the people behind this deal. And I’m excited for Disney.

To give some kind of comparison to try to understand just how much money this is – Disney’s Frozen recently became a billion-dollar franchise. Any way you slice this deal, that’s a lot of zeroes.

As a Disney Cast Member, I can definitely understand the acquisition. I feel The Walt Disney Company really wants to keep up with the times and evolve alongside technology. The public may not always agree with this sentiment, which is understandable. But I think the loyal fans of this site can rest assured that Disney doesn’t want to change anything about Maker Studios. It’s obviously doing pretty well for itself already…

What do you think of this deal?

Exciting things on the horizon!

Hello there, world!

It’s truly amazing how quickly life changes. I have learned a lot about the media industry, and people, in a very short span of time. The saying is true: when one door closes, another opens. I’m feeling very happy and excited about the many opportunities out there and I don’t intend on wasting any of them!

The fall semester starts on Monday and I’m actually excited for it. I’m very near to graduation, so that might have something to do with it, ha ha. I’ll be taking Public Affairs Reporting, which I’m sure will only strengthen my fact-checking super powers. I also signed up to take Mandarin Chinese. The language has always fascinated me and it’s only spoken by like a billion people, so I figure it can’t hurt to try it out.

This will also be my first semester as vice president of SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists, for those not up to speed.) The executive board has come up with several ideas for the semester and I’m amped about our potential. Next month, we’ll be attending the Excellence in Journalism conference in Fort Lauderdale, which should also be a wonderful networking opportunity.

Another opportunity (I notice a theme going on in this blog post) I’m going to try for is a Disney Professional Internship. If you’ve read my “About Me” section, or taken a glance at my résumé, you already know that I’m a Disney College Program alumni (Fall 2007 represent!) Well, this internship is a step beyond that and is a very competitive position. So if the Mouse offers me a spot, I’ll be moving back to Orlando coming January 2013. Zip-ah-dee-doo-dah, indeed.

Other than that, I’m still tweeting, Pinning and Instagram-ing up a storm, watching copious amounts of The Newsroom, Storage Wars and True Blood, counting down the days until season 3 of The Walking Dead, missing Ireland, bracing for Hurricane Isaac (and the RNC), working on my fitness and…pretty much enjoying what life has to offer…which is a lot. Hope you’re doing the same.

P.S. I’ve finally posted a few photos under the Photography tab…so go check ’em out!

P.S.S. (lol) As I type this, I have 1,137 views on this here WordPress. So I know I’m getting some traffic…why not leave me a comment?

30 days in jail, probation for former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi

Have you been following this case? Are you feeling a little outraged at the outcome? I’m pretty shocked… and also conflicted.

For those not familiar: Back in 2010, Dharun Ravi  used his webcam to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi. Ravi set up the webcam to capture Clementi’s sexual encounters, which happened to be with another male. Then, Ravi used Twitter to encourage other students to watch said encounters. Tyler Clementi killed himself shortly after. He jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge on September 22, 2010.

A couple months ago a jury convicted Ravi on 15 criminal counts including invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, and witness and evidence tampering.

The jail sentence is set to begin May 31. Ravi was also sentenced to three years of probation, 300 hours of community service, and counseling regarding cyber bullying and alternative lifestyles. Ravi must also pay a $10,000 fine, which will go to a facility dedicated to victims of bias crimes, The Star-Ledger reports.

I took a media law class this past semester and we talked about this case. It enraged me then and it enrages me still. Bullying isn’t limited to the playground and if anything I’m glad this case has forced people to pay attention to just how severe it can be.

Do you really think 30 days of jail is justice? I’m not sure it is. I mean, Ravi did not even speak in court when given the chance. Why not say sorry to the family? Why not take the stand and show how much the experience has taught you? Why not express interest in speaking to other young people about what happened and use it as a teaching tool?

Instead his crying mother took the stand and asked the judge to give her son a chance to live a normal life. But what about Tyler and his life?

It’s hard for me to feel for Ravi when he hasn’t expressed any remorse. However, the optimist in me wants to believe that the whole thing went way beyond his comprehension.

He’s still only 20 years old and would have been an impressionable 18-year-old when he committed the crimes.

And yes, crimes. Invading someone’s privacy is just that. But the Internet has blurred the lines of privacy. Facebook and Twitter make people, especially young people, feel entitled to know the intimate details of other people’s lives. Hell, people share nitty gritty details about themselves all the time – and willingly.

However, I knew better when I was 18. But I knew better before the webcam even existed. So should age even be an excuse?

I’ve never been to jail, so I’m not sure what those 30 days will be like for Ravi. He needs to be punished and live the consequences of his actions. But it’s the counseling that I think he really needs. Or a wake up call… some time to mature.

Is this type of thing preventable?

I really think we should have a class in middle school dedicated to embracing diversity. We need a class or seminar on bullying and how to use the Internet and teach how to respect someone’s privacy.

What do YOU think? Have you been bullied on the Internet? Does the sentence match the crimes?

Obama: I’m going to Disney World!

Obama's audio-animatronic at Disney's Hall of Presidents - photo credit WDW

I guess I came up with the most obvi headline because the Orlando Sentinel (and now several others) decided on the same one. I’ll chalk it up to great minds thinking alike…

The news broke around noon today that the President will indeed visit The Mouse on Thursday to deliver a speech about tourism.

A White House aide stated:

On Thursday, the President will travel to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where he’ll unveil a strategy that will significantly help boost tourism and travel, an important sector in the U.S. economy. The action will be taken as part of the President’s “We Can’t Wait” agenda of executive actions that will aid job growth and don’t require congressional approval.

Obama was last in Orlando last October for a fundraiser. He apparently hit up a downtown Orlando bar for a pint of Guinness. My man!

My first thought upon hearing the news was, “I wanna gooooooo.” But, alas, I’ll be in class. #collegestudentproblems

Many of the Disney sites and Twitter accounts are already buzzing about the news and the main topic of discussion is whether Obama will visit himself in the Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom.

Lou Mongello, host of WDW Radio, tweeted:

With Obama visiting Disney World on Thursday, did you know that no American President has ever seen himself in The Hall of Presidents? #Yet

NBD, right?

Well, for this Disney nerd it is.

More updates to follow…

**UPDATE**

According to my local news station:

Mr. Obama is expected to arrive in Orlando aboard Air Force One at 11:40 a.m. and leave at 2:15 p.m

He will speak at Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World at 12:35 p.m.

Watch it LIVE: HERE
 or HERE

Also, a Tweeter with the handle @easywdw is there right NOW and he’s posting lots of neat pictures.

I guess I should not be surprised that guests are not allowed anywhere near the Castle. However, I was not imagining as many barricades and blocked off areas…

Photo courtesy of @easywdw

Justin Bieber gets sizeable Jesus tattoo, claims he’s not religious

Say whaaaa? Never have I ever written a blog about the Biebs. Heck, I don’t even own any of his music. But, an article I just read makes me think he’s contracted a touch of that fever everyone is always talking about.

The Daily Mail UK posted an article with the highlights of JB’s interview in V Magazine and it talks about how he’s nearing his 18th birthday and how he’s not a kid anymore and yadda, yadda, yadda.

But can we just take a second to focus on the part where he talks about how he’s “not religious?”

DUDE. You just got Jesus’ mug permanently inked to the back of your calf?! THE ENTIRE CALF. FOREVER.

‘I don’t think I’m religious. I am spiritual,’ Bieber told the fashion magazine.

‘I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I believe that He put me in this position, and that I have to always give Him the glory He deserves for putting me here.

‘But I don’t consider myself religious. A lot of people who are religious, I think they get lost. They go to church just to go to church.

‘I’m not trying to disrespect them – you know, whatever works for you.

‘But for me, I focus more on praying and talking to Him. I don’t have to go to church.’

Maybe it’s just me. But that sounds pretty religious.

So is anyone else just a tad confused? I mean, sure, get whatever you want tattooed on your own body, but at least have a better explanation than that. Right?

I think what puzzles me most is the fact that celebrities never seem to want to fully own their religiousness. Or, it’s the media that brings the attention to the other extreme.

Example = Tim Tebow. Suddenly, his faith is a spectacle and Jesus is behind every play. John 3:16 and 316 yards. A halo appeared above the field. Twitter went a Twitter and every record was broken.

I digress.

But seriously. How many Beliebers (no, spellcheck, that’s how you spell it, I swear…) are going to go out and get Jesus tattoos now? Instead of hipster/scene kids, we’ll have  – NO, let’s not go there.

And how many people are going to substitute Jesus for the names on the back of their Broncos jerseys? Oh, wait. They’re already doing that.